My kid’s daycare has a sort of pass/fail system for each day. Good behavior gets a happy face on their sheet for the day’s summary of activity. Bad days get a frowny face. So, considering my kid has been developing a habit of hitting, we’ve been very conscientious about reducing his frowny face days. I go to pick him up on Friday to find that he got not only a frowny face, but also a “see reverse” written on the sheet.
Dreading what I’m about to read, I flip the page over. Apparently, my kiddo decided that the otherwise innocuous pushing in of his chair by his teacher was a full frontal assault on his person. He reacted to this in several ways, which the teacher was kind enough to provide a nice synopsis.
He took the partially chewed food from his mouth, hucked it at the teacher and then flipped his chair over like a guest on the Jerry Springer show finding out the results of a paternity test.
I’m horrified at how my precious little one has devolved into one step above a poo-flinging ape. I’m also trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation, as the teacher relates the story to me. Whatever nonsense I put up with in my job, no one ever flings half chewed food at me. He also went on a hunger strike for the rest of the day, refusing anything else from the teacher, in some odd protest.
Other parents are coming to retrieve their kids. Their lovely littles are more than happy to gather themselves up in a dignified manner, and leave when the parent asks the first time. I’m trying to resolve my embarrassment, and try to offer up an explanation of his behavior. His obstinence reminds me so much of my little brother when he was small, his temper was always a problem, and his stubbornness always an obstacle. The teacher is not sympathetic.
As I try to reconcile the realization that my kid is developing an unhealthy sense of himself, where his rage can go to this darkness and people will just stand back, aghast. Am I witnessing the birth of a super villain?
I wish I could relate to him that this is just not the way to communicate or react to people. But my fear that he might take it even further worries me more. He does begin to throw things, and I raise my voice in an attempt to get him back in line. It works, and the teacher seems a bit impressed. It’s all I can do to pray that he’ll act like a human being and let me get him out of the building in one piece.
I wonder if this kid’s figured out his potential to destroy our happy little set up at this daycare. My face tries to keep the steely veneer of a parent who will not be fucked with, but deep down I’m just praying he stays mellow enough to keep him enrolled in a perfectly good classroom.
I wonder if it’s his way of getting attention, which most seasoned parents would advise me to just ignore it. But I know better. He’ll call my bluff easy and then up the ante, to something even worse. It’s moments like this where I feel the complete incompetence I feared I’d be stumbling through as a parent.
The teachers who all have multiple kids of their own, silently judging me with every minute passing where my kid continues to ignore my repeated requests to go home. I feel every inch the worst parent ever.
And, although the teacher is sort of laughing now about the incident, I can’t help but feel like I’m making the wrong choices. I begin to spiral in my head, worrying that I’ve spawned the next Lex Luthor or something.
But, as we go home, the kid seems just fine. In fact, we managed the rest of the weekend with few incidents, and certainly none of them are like the food flinging. I wonder if he’s not happy where he is, or what his freaking deal really is. But toddlers are enigmas, and we live to fight another day. Hopefully he does better today.